Patients can now lie longer due to smart sensors that prevent injuries to skin and tissue

Patients can now lie longer due to smart sensors that prevent injuries to skin and tissue

(PRESS RELEASE) BERN, 20-Feb-2019 — /EuropaWire/ — An innovative project called ProTex will receive CHF 2 million funding grant from BRIDGE Discovery. ProTex relies on highly sensitive portable sensors that use light to measure oxygen saturation in the blood. Those portable sensors will help prevent injuries to skin and tissue when a patient needs to lie for an extended period of time.

The researchers are developing textile, “smart” sensors that prevent the occurrence of pressure injuries. Ulcers of the skin and underlying tissue is usually happening when the oxygen supply to the skin and underlying tissue is limited or cut off due to pressure in bedridden patients or in patients with paraplegia who cannot move well.

According to Ursula Wolf, one of the researchers behind ProTex project, complex and expensive treatment of ulcers make them a serious health problem and it is therefore very important not to let them happen in the first place.

The idea behind is for the ProTex sensors to be integrated into clothing such as underwear or stockings and to continuously measure the pressure and oxygen saturation of the skin and underlying tissue. Then, when bedsores are about to form due to lowered oxygen content sensors will detect the risk and trigger an alarm signal and the patient can then be moved or repositioned.

“Our sensors represent a new approach to portable sensors – and are also an important step towards ‘smart’ clothing,” continues Ursula Wolf.

BRIDGE Discovery, one of the two funding schemes of (the other is Proof of Concept), aims at experienced researchers for basic as well as applied research in order to realise the innovation potential of research findings. The programme allows the researchers to forge ahead with their vision during the critical precompetitive phase.

BRIDGE Discovery is organised by the Swiss National Science Foundation SNSF and the Swiss Agency for Innovation Promotion Innosuisse. The goal is to support projects that impress with their scientific excellence, a clear implementation strategy and economic and social potential.

The researchers behind the ProTex project are from Empa and the University of Bern and they have received their grant during the current call for proposals for BRIDGE funding from the SNF and Innosuisse through an application from Empa and the University of Berne.

  • Ursula Wolf is a Professor at the Institute for Complementary and Integrative Medicine (IKIM)
  • Luciano Boesel is from the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa)
  • Guido Piai is from the Interstate University of Applied Sciences NTB

The optical fibers required for the realization of textile sensors are provided from Empa while NTB contributed the miniaturized interfaces to the optical fibers, lightweight and portable electronics and the necessary digital signal processing.

Luciano Boesel, Empa:

“None of us could carry out the project alone. Together we have the expertise in materials, optics, electronics, medicine and technology.”

More about BRIDGE can be found over here

More about the ProTex project (in German) can also be read over here:…



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